On the one hand, Omulecki’s art bears the mark of the declining years of the Polish People’s Republic, and on the other – he is an artist of the era of turbo-capitalist transformations. He is the author of portrait sessions which revolutionized this photographic genre in Poland.
Photographer, lecturer at Academy of Photography, Warsaw.
Igor Omulecki (born 1973) belongs to the generation of artists who grew up during the period of political transformation. He comes from Łódź and his development was influenced by his contact with the local artistic scene related to Warsztat Formy Filmowej, Galeria Wschodnia, and Muzeum Artystów. On the one hand, Omulecki’s art bears the mark of the declining years of the Polish People’s Republic, and on the other, he is an artist of the era of turbo-capitalist transformations; the author of, among others, portrait sessions from Fluid to Viva! which revolutionized this photographic genre in Poland. For many years he has conducted activities in the areas of both artistic and commercial photography with international success.
One of the best known series by Omulecki is Beautiful People (1999 –2003), a visual manifesto of that time.
“This is my response to the media world of beauty surrounding me” – he said. “It turned out to be a spontaneous theatre of Polish aesthetics and shameful mental spheres.”
Even more psychedelic was his collection Poland (2004–2006) shown at the exhibition Poland Now! (2006), or his individual photographs, such as the portrait of a knight, which Omulecki took during a 2005 reconstruction of the Battle of Grunwald (this photograph became iconic of the exhibition The New Documentalists, exhibited at CSW Zamek Ujazdowski, 2006).
In 2004 Omulecki became interested in photographs from his family albums, which arranged by him in a sequence of slides constituted a special mix of nostalgia typical for images of childhood and history. The series Photographs from an Album, became a special sort of document on the Polish People’s Republic – a period when small boys dressed up not only as cowboys and Indians or Kung-fu fighters but also as secret agents fighting the fascists or as soldiers of the Polish People’s Army. Omulecki develops the family history theme in several collections in which he tells us about his wife and children. The artist himself compares the photographs Venus (2008) and Lucy (2009) to surrealistic fantasies on the subject of man’s presence in the natural environment, far beyond all traces of civilization. The artist presented less Elysian works in the exhibition It (2011), which focused on the subjects of transience and death, though still pertinent to family.
This closer examination of existentialism goes together with the formal research by the artist, who, since 2009, has been preparing exhibitions using not only photography but also film, music, drawings and computer animation. His latest works are almost entirely devoid of any modern context. “That which lies deepest within us is beyond the confines of time” – he says in explaining this aspect of his own work
Photographer's website: omulecki.com
- Houses as Silver as Tents, Contemporary Museum Wrocław
- As You Can See: Polish Art Today, Museum Of Modern Art, Warsaw
- Instant Curiosities, Arsenał Municipal Gallery, 8. Biennale of Photography, Poznań
- Houses as Silver as Tents , Zachęta - National Gallery of Art, Warsaw
- Showroom, Museum Of Modern Art, Warsaw
- The Whisperers, Matadero Madrid, Spain
- WaveHerd, Le Guern, Warsaw
- Black Suns, Galeria Wschodnia, Łódź
- Curators' Network-Group Show, MOCAK, Kraków
- Damy z pieskiem i małpką, Królikarnia, branch of the National Museum, Warsaw
- Piękło, Inspiracje Festiwal, Szczecin
- Black Stars On A White Sky, Museum MAN - Chateau de Sacy Picardy France, Jean Cocteau Notre Dame de France altar, London
- Les Transphotographiques, Tri Postal, Lille, France
- Gym Society, Le Guern, Warsaw
- Lucy, Lokal_30, Warsaw
- Videozone 4 video biennale, The Centre for Contemoprary Art, Tel Aviv, Israel
- Red Eye Effect, Centre for Contemporary Arts Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw
- Gym Society, TRANSVIZUALIA 007, Ucho, Gdynia
- Just Can't Get Enough, CBKG, Arhnem ModeBiennale, Netherlands
- Pocko, The Pool, Photomonth East London Festival, UK
- Black Stars On A White Sky, Chateau de Sacy Sacy-le-Petit, France
- New documentalists, Center of Contemporary Arts, Warsaw, Festival of Photography Bratislava, BWA Zielona Góra, Poland
- Teraz Polska, Yours Gallery, Warsaw
- Corbett PROJECTS, The Glass House Gallery, London, UK
- Image-Central European self story, Lumen Gallery, Budapest, Central European House of Photography, Bratyslava, Slovakia
- New Contemporaries 2005, Bloomberg exhibition - Spike Island, Bristol; Barbican, London; Cornerhouse, Manchaster, UK
- Prize of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Poland
- ExhibitA Award - First Prize
- IPA Award - First Prize
- Polish Advertising Creators Club (KTR): Gold, Silver, Bronze Awards 2011-2006
- National Diploma / Cannes Lions
- Europe's Premier Creative Awards Epica - Bronze Epica
The original text was published in The Decisive Moment. New Phenomena in Polish Photography Since 2000, Karakter, 2012
Author: Adam Mazur, October 2012